Enhanced Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft – Digital Illustration

Enhanced Cygnus Spacecraft by Orbital ATK

Enhanced Cygnus Spacecraft by Orbital ATK

Enhanced Cygnus Spacecraft

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft that has been making regular deliveries of cargo to the International Space Station. Orbital ATK and it’s partners, have upgraded the Cygnus from 2000 kg of cargo to 3,200 kg in it’s pressurized cargo module. The rectangular accordion solar panels have been replaced by the lighter Ultraflex solar arrays. You can view my illustration of the previous version here

The background is drawn or painted on the Apple iPad using the Sketchbook Pro app and the Apple Pencil. The foreground is modeled and rendered in Lightwave 3d. Photoshop was used to create some texture maps.

cygnus-enhanced cargo spacecraft

Division of Planetary Sciences – Art Show

Photo courtesy of Dan Durda.

Photo courtesy of Dan Durda.

Some of best planetary scientists gathered at the 47th meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Science (DPS) in Washington DC. In conjunction with the sessions discussing planets and moons, atmospheres and orbital dynamics, there is art. These curated works of art depict representations of the science at the meeting. I was fortunate to have one of my Pluto pieces selected for this show. My artwork “Nearest Pluto” illustrating the closest approach of the New Horizons probe to Pluto and the moon Charon. I touched up this small canvas print to make the foreground elements more prominent and added some gold paint to enhance the gold on the New Horizons spacecraft.

I am proud to exhibit my artwork in a place where it will be appreciated for its artist merits and as a scientific illustration.

Photo courtesy of Dan Durda.

Photo courtesy of Dan Durda.

Farewell Pluto


The New Horizons spacecraft has flown past Pluto and it’s moons. Oriented so that it’s instruments capture data as the system of moons and Pluto become silhouetted by the sun. There is a subtle glow as Pluto looses it’s nitrogen atmosphere to the solar wind. This image created with Lightwave, Sculptris, Sketchbook Pro and Photoshop.

Pluto and New Horizons

close to Pluto
Today the New Horizons spacecraft passed by the dwarf planet Pluto at a distance of about 7,000 miles. While the New Horizons team did receive the signal that all systems are fine, the data and images will take some time to get back to Earth. I have created this image based on the images that we have seen so far. The Pluto surface was painted on the iPad using Sketchbook Pro and composited with 3-D models that were built and rendered in Lightwave.

This image is available as a print on Redbubble.

Pluto Flyby

The New Horizons spacecraft has traveled nearly four billion miles and will fly past Pluto and it’s system of five moons on July 14th, 2015 at about 36,000 mile per hour. Here the spacecraft is close to it’s nearest approach of the dwarf planet and it’s moon.

Click here if you are interested in purchasing prints of this image.

Approaching the Pluto System


After a nine year journey, the New Horizons probe is approaching the dwarf planet Pluto and it’s system of five moons. As the New Horizons space craft gets closer it orients it’s intruments toward the dwarf planet and it’s moon Charon. Created with a model I built in Lightwave and Pluto and Charon painted in Photoshop using details from New Horizons.

Click here if you are interested in purchasing a print.